A long way from home to home – Schwobfeld (Germany) to Edinburgh (Scotland) in less than 3 days, almost zero emissions and one gear
It’s difficult to find a start for this post. Maybe start with the numbers first, as they, although still being important, mean the least to me. Read them and try to forget them, or take them as a goal for yourself. I managed to post a new personal best with cycling 502.41km in one go, although not in a single day. Well, the sheer riding time was 22:34:50h, so actually less than a day, most of the time on top was spent with taking photographs, searching for directions and coffee. Adding the 22.2km/h average and the fact that I cycled every bit on a singlespeed bike makes it a rather impressive undertaking. To add some more numbers, the whole journey, which started on Friday morning in a tiny little village called Schwobfeld in Germany and ended Sunday night in Edinburgh, was 697k in total. I guess I won’t get home any quicker than that with almost zero emissions (I take my share of the diesel needed for the ferry to bring me back to Newcastle, kindly arranged by DFDS).
The more important thing though was the journey, again put together spontaneously, the smiling faces around me, the surprised people you bump into when entering a bar at midnight, asking for a coffee in lycra. The ones like Koos, a nice Dutch guy that showed me the best way through Amsterdam, and offered me a place to stay next time I’ll be back. The unbeatable experience cycling in the Netherlands, the 14% climb right at the start, that almost kills you, but in the end makes you stronger. The supporting tweets on the way, the looks you get walking bare feet along the ferry deck with a big smile on your face. The phone call to your parents once I had arrived on the boat, the fabulous Dutch milk with orange and mango flavour, the friendliness of the people on the check out of supermarkets. The comfy ditch next to the main road which is perfectly shaped for a nap, and many other things. The support from sponsors like DFDS making you feel that tiny little bit special, the free sea view cabin and catching up with old friends by accident while having an all you can eat breakfast on the boat.
This will stay in my mind, forever. The numbers though, they will be gone in a few months time. I got one more big trip planned, crossing Scotland in 650k in one go. It will be a spontaneous one again, and you might read about it soon here. I will do the trip whenever I think the time is right, but not expecting the conditions to be perfect, as they never are. For the moment I am happy that everything was as perfect as it could be, and appreciate how lucky I am to be able to do that.